Hard to believe our work at the schools has come to an end
Photo Posted By: Nikki
Hard to believe our work at the schools has come to an end
Photo Posted By: Nikki
This week we began to talk about HIV and AIDS in detail for the first time. HIV rates in the Bunda District have risen from 3.6 % in 2012 to 5.8 % in 2014, so it was imperative that we stress the importance of HIV knowledge and awareness. Both schools were very interested in the subject of HIV and asked lots of questions, ranging from how it is transferred to how it can be maintained. While there is progress in containing the initial spread of HIV, scientists are far from discovering a cure. It is hard to tell the class that there is no cure, seeing as it is a very real part of their every day lives. However, HIV awareness is a step forward in preventing the spread of the disease and we hope we have made an effective impact on these children through this unit.
Outside the classroom, life has been relatively slow. We have discovered a small path that turns out to be a short cut to the center of town. Roaming the markets and looking for goods have become a daily occurrence that keeps us busy. Delaney and I saw a Maasai Warrior the other day and stopped to have a chat with him. He was extremely friendly and was enthusiastic to take a photo with us!
For the first two or three weeks at the hotel, it was only the four of us staying there. Recently there has been an influx of guests at the hotel, and that has been a nice change. The past few nights I have stayed up late talking with Manyama (the hotel manager) and a few Mwanza locals about African and World politics. We discussed the status of the Syrian Civil War, Tanzanian Trade Relations with Europe, and most notably the future of Tanzania’s economy.
A couple nights ago Nikki came up with the ingenious AfriBurrito. In this food creation, we use chapati (a crispy fried naan-like bread), avocado, chili sauce, cooked greens and beef to make possibly the best food we have had on this trip so far. I could easily have that for the next 8 nights that we will be here.
Until next time,
On Friday at Kunzugu we tackled unplanned pregnancy and abortion. Abortion is illegal in Tanzania, but unfortunately it is still performed with poisons and medications, wire tools, and/or physical force to the womb. The students asked alot of questions which we were ready to answer. They understood why it was so dangerous to get an illegal abortion. They also are beginning to understand the seriousness of sex, and why it is something you should think about! Our classes have seemed to give them a venue to talk about things and ask questions that they don’t seem to be able to do anywhere else. I am glad that we have provided a safe space that they can do so. After class, Benson showed us the school garden where they grow tons of fruits and vegetables that they sell, and use. Nikki and I were pumped to find big Okras in the garden! I also found a huge pineapple shop in the market. The guy selling them asked me “Excuse me Madam, I know this is weird, but please may I touch your hair?” “Sure!” I’m used to it by now! 🙂
Today, it is a beautiful sunny Monday morning here in Bunda. We had a nice relaxing weekend at the Victoria Star Lodge. After breakfast, we picked up our kichenges from the tailor. We walked to the market together on Saturday morning. Us gals bought a ton of beautiful African fabrics to bring home. Zak and I bought a chuka which is a large African scarf worn by the Masai People. It’s basically a large plaid blanket, and they wear it over their shoulders and torso. In Bunda, the Masai act as watchmen at the market to make sure no funny business goes down. We played some games in the courtyard and I got my 60 SPF sunscreen tan on! For lunch we enjoyed chipsy mai which is an excellent African creation. It is crispy fries in a pan cooked with eggs and vegetables. It is the best with chili sauce on it! We had an early night in watching New Girl and reading as we had to wake up early for church on Sunday morning.
Scola picked us up on Sunday morning and together we walked to the Free Pentecostal Church of Tanzania. We were warmly welcomed and sat near the back as the church was quite full. We were dressed in our new skirts, and were made to stand up and introduce ourselves to the entire congregation. The music was upbeat and beautiful, and they had dancers at the front as well. The sermon was a little long, mainly because it was entirely in Swahili, and we didn’t really know what was going on. Church in Bunda goes from 7 am to 2 pm and so after 2 hours we gracefully made our escape. We walked back to our hotel and did our laundry for the week. It usually dries within the hour in the hot sun! We updated our journals, played some cards and tried to stay cool. That’s all from us. Until next time,
The curiosity in the kid’s eyes and their expressions were absolutely priceless when we began our lesson on reproduction. I forget what it was like to learn about the topic and how fascinating it was…I forget how many questions I had and how clear everything eventually became. The lesson involved puberty and the changes that occur in both boys and girls, the anatomy of male and female reproductive systems, FGM, and male circumcision. We decided to separate the boys from the girls to teach them about both genders to provide an environment where the students felt more comfortable asking questions. We also had Zak instruct the boys on his own and us girls instruct the female students. When it was time to teach the boys about the female reproductive system, Del went in to help out. The students at Kunzugu presented us with very insightful questions and participated really well throughout the lesson. We finished off the unit on Monday with a Jeopardy style quiz game to see how well they retained the information from Friday’s lesson. They proved to remember the information very well and the winning team got Manitoba pins, which the kids were very much excited about. The unit went well at Rubana as well; however, the students are a little bit younger and are less mature so there were a lot of giggles throughout the class. They did not have many questions at all but what 13-year-old feels comfortable talking about that kind of stuff in front of their classmates? I sure didn’t. All we can hope for is that the information translated and they learned something new.
The power was out yesterday, which is somewhat of a regular occurrence in Tanzania. It seems as though it is due to line maintenance. There is usually an announcement the day before informing the public that the power will be out from approximately 9am-6pm. Hurray for propane! Although we did need to write out our lesson plans by hand and had to endure a day without Internet. We filled our time by going for a nice afternoon walk for tomatoes. There are little vegetable stands everywhere in Bunda, many of which that sell tomatoes, onions, and sardines. Being the “smart”, pale Canadians that we are, we wanted to get our tan on and figured that a 20 minute walk at the hottest part of the day, near the equator would be harmless without sunscreen on…yep, it’s safe to say we’re idiots. We all got burned except for Ginny. It literally still looks like I’m wearing my bag over my shoulder.
Yesterday’s lesson at Kunzugu included the different ways of being safe when engaging in sexual activities. CPAR even provided us with a penis model. Zak bravely demonstrated to the class by use of the model how to properly use a condom and Del even stepped up to demonstrate how to turn a condom into a dental dam! The students were astounded by such demonstrations and once again blew our minds with excellent questions. We finished the day with some class photos and handed out condoms to each of the students.
Ginny and I helped Lucy prepare dinner last night and are now experts at making masala sauce and ugali. She’s going to show us different ways to prepare sweet potatoes and how to carry a baby on our backs with just a piece of fabric. She’s literally Superwoman. I’ve never seen someone multitask but yet conduct herself in such a joyful and calm manner, all the time. We’ve grown quite fond of her and her husband Manyama and of course their 7-month-old son Faustine.
Asante to our magnificent hosts
This past Saturday we left our little family at the Victoria Lodge and headed to Musoma for a weekend excursion. It was a nice change from our usual routine, and we returned yesterday relaxed and ready for another week in the schools.
We left mid morning on Saturday, and stopped at the Julius Nyerere Museum along the way. He was the first president of independent Tanzania. We toured through a museum with an impressive collection of artifacts from his life, and then through the grounds of his family home, where he’s now buried. The grounds have beautiful views of the surrounding hills, but our time enjoying the landscape was cut short after Del was stung by some mysterious kind of African wasp. Of course none of us had remembered to pack our Benadryl cream, but we managed to find an antihistamine tablet in one of our purses, and she was good to go.
After our stop at the museum we headed into Musoma, and stopped for lunch at the Rahema cafe. This little restaurant served mostly western food, so we ordered pizza, burgers and guacamole, which was all pretty amazing. There’s a great shop outside the cafe, where customers can buy clothing and accessories made by local women. Profits from the restaurant and shop are put towards helping disadvantaged women and children in Tanzania. We all took the opportunity to pick up some gifts for our friends and families back home.
We made our way to the Afrilux hotel after a brief stop at a supermarket to pick up coke zero, wine, and nutella (all the necessities). The hotel is in the middle of the main town area, so is quite different to our quite environment at the Victoria. We enjoyed the busy atmosphere, as well as the air conditioning. That evening we watched the sunset on the beach at the Tempo hotel, while eating fried eggs over french fries, which apparently is a dish of choice here. Pretty delicious.
After a bit of shopping on Sunday we returned to Bunda to do some laundry and get a head start on our lesson plans for this week. Our class at Kunzugu on Friday went very well. The kids were really engaged with the material, and asked insightful questions. It didn’t seem as though they had learned much about reproductive systems in school thus far. We found that separating the girls and boys helped to improve the comfort level a bit, and encouraged students to ask questions that they may not have wanted to ask in front of the whole group. Today we’ll be bringing the class back together for a review of Friday’s lesson, and then moving on to talk about various types of contraception and the importance of protecting against STI’s and unplanned pregnancy.
We hope everyone at home is enjoying the May Long! Happy Victoria Day!
Yesterday was the last day of talking about Gender Equality, Human Rights, and Assertiveness in the face of abuse to both Kunzugu and Rubana Secondary Schools. In these lessons, we taught about the equality of men and women (even if sometimes they have different gender roles), the importance of human rights to individuals and their communities, about the existence and necessity of natural laws and rights that all people have regardless of its legal status in a community, and that abusiveness exists but can be challenged as a norm in our world today.
While doing extensive research on human rights and abuse, I had the opportunity to overview the Tanzanian Legal Code and its contents. I found this very fascinating, considering I am starting Law School at the University of Manitoba this September. I was able to teach the students a little bit about their legal rights within their country and community, and I found this extremely rewarding.
Today, we are holding our first class on Puberty. It seems like a lifetime ago I was in Grade 6 health class learning about all the changes that boys and girls go through, so I needed a refresher in the material before I could go on to teach the class.After discussing the lesson with the Badili Team, it seems as though all of us (except Delaney the Nurse) had to go through a crash course in human anatomy. Being the only boy, it is a little intimidating taking on the responsibility of accurately portraying the lesson material to all of the boys, but now I am confident about today and am sure that all will go as planned. As a team I believe we have worked well together to prepare ourselves for this next phase in our lesson material. In about an hour, we will be teaching the Puberty Unit to Kunzugu Secondary School for the first time. After the weekend, we will be updating the blog with some feedback from our most recent lesson.
Kwa heri (Goodbye in Swahili),
Hey everybody! We are on our eleventh day here in Bunda, and are becoming quite settled. We have tried nearly everything on the menu and have discovered Chips Masala. We have named it Afripoutine. It is simply fries coated in this delicious African Masala sauce. We have also enjoyed fried plantains which taste like big fries! We tend to go between beef and fish for the best source of protein, and eggs are a must. In the dining room where we eat, they always have a old school soundtrack consisting of Celine Dion, Ashanti, Backstreet Boys, Ja Rule, and Nsync, and Mariah Carey. We have alot of fun singing along to the music and playing cards while we wait for our Afripoutine.
Delfina (social worker at CPAR), visited both schools and let them know that the program would run much smoother and was intended for a much smaller group of students. Both schools had to narrow down the student groups to 15 boys and 15 girls from each school. We have had one day of 30 at each school and it was very nice, and felt like we connected with the students on a more personal level, which is our primary intention.
I was invited to joingthe nurses and Delphina to go to Manyamayama Hospital. I met with the department nursing officer, and she gave me a tour of the hospital. The labor wards are closed off with the windows open. The moms sleep in the same bed with the babies. Some have IV Pitocynon running (synthetic oxytocinon to help the uterus to contract). They rest and learn how to breastfeed before they go home. I saw brand new baby twins that were born that morning. I was also taken in to see the OR which was super exciting. They have autoclaves, a washing machine, and a septic and non septic OR. The nurses wear white, dresses for girls and pants and tee shirts.
We met with the department of health officer, and he told me that the HIV rate three years ago was 3.5%, and now it is at 5.8% which is an alarming increase. As a soon to be nurse, I forget the immense importance of primary health prevention which is education and teaching before disease. I tend to focus on the disease, symptoms and treatment. We are in a prime spot to make a serious difference in these kids by educating them about risks, and hopefully decreasing transmission rate. Our hope is that these students will be leaders and pass on what they’ve learned not only to the students that had to drop the class, but the rest of the school as well!
Bye for now!